Art Tools & Materials

A list of my essential “go to” tools and materials

I have favorite art tools and materials that I use again and again. Here’s a list of my essential “go to” materials. In other words, if I were just starting out, this is what I would get for my studio. Each artist has favorite materials and these are some of mine.

Art Journals

Any art journal will do. My particular ‘journal’ is numerous small pieces of paper I place on a large board on my easel. I also like Pentalic journals.

The Artist’s Journey®:
Creativity Reflection Journal

Global Art Hand Book Artist Journals 

Strathmore Visual Art Journals 

Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal 


Whatever your preference: paper, canvas, panel. I love paper, in particular, BFK Rives printmaking paper which comes in 22” x 30” sheets and in 42” x 10 yard rolls. Strathmore Bristol paper, vellum surface, 18” x 24”, 400 series is a less expensive alternative. Watercolor paper is fine. One inexpensive option we use in live workshops is Borden & Riley, 90 lbs. paper. You can get it in various sizes (rolls) and cut it to the size you choose. Any kind of canvas or panel works as well.

Borden & Riley 90 lb Acid Free Drawing Paper 

Strathmore 401-42 400 Series Drawing Roll 

Strathmore 463-42 400 Series Mixed Media Roll 

Strathmore 400 Series Bristol, 2-Ply Vellum, 18″x24″ Tape Bound, 15 Sheets 

Rives Bfk White 22×30 Pack of 10 

BFK Rives Printmaking Papers 

Borden & Riley Kraft Paper Roll 

ARTEZA Watercolor Paper 9×12 Inch, Pack of 2, 64 Sheets 

Artlicious Canvas Panels 12 Pack – 8″ x 10″ 

Masterpiece Artist Canvas 22″ x 30″ 

Masterpiece Alcohol Ink Art Panels 


Keep it simple to begin with. The 3 primaries of red, yellow, and blue plus black and white will create an infinity of colors. You can use what you have in your studio. You may not need to purchase anything. For acrylics, I like Golden, Matisse and Blick Studio Basics brands. I also occasionally use Liquitex Basics and Utrecht Studio or another brand for affordability.

Golden Fluid Acrylics 

Golden Fluid Acrylics – Carbon Black, 16 oz bottle 

Utrecht Studio Series Bright White 32 oz jar 

Blick Artists’ Acrylic – Titanium White, 16 oz jar 

Golden Fluid Acrylics – Transparent Red Iron Oxide, 4 oz bottle 

Utrecht Studio Series Acrylic Paint:
Medium Red

Utrecht Studio Series Acrylic Paint:
Primary Blue

Utrecht Studio Series Acrylic Paint:
Medium Yellow

Note: if you’re focused on color, you may want to get warm and cool variations on the 3 primaries…I wouldn’t worry about this for now…but if that’s important to you here are some examples:

  • Red: cadmium red light, alizarin crimson
  • Blue: ultramarine blue, cobalt blue
  • Yellow: cadmium yellow medium, cadmium yellow light
    The colors I find essential for my work are these:

    • Carbon black (fluid acrylic, Golden)
    • Titanium white (fluid acrylic, Golden)
    • Zinc white (Golden)
    • Transparent red oxide (fluid acrylic, Golden)
    • Payne’s gray (fluid acrylic, Golden)
    • Van Dyke brown (fluid acrylic, Golden)
    • Naple’s yellow hue (Golden acrylic artist color, 5 oz. tube)
    • Mar’s gray in a tube or jar (Golden)

    Drawing Materials & Brushes

    Dry abrasion media of your choice: pencils, graphite, charcoal, markers, or any other media you wish to use.

    I especially like: Derwent Inktense pencils (black) and various Krink, Montoya and Molotow graffiti markers. Artists brushes, shapers, palette knives of your choice.

    Hardware brushes can be great! I have an affinity for Colour Shapers made by Royal Sovereign. I like the 3 inch, flat, firm shapers. (2.5 inch shapers work well too).

    Derwent Inktense Pencil 

    Derwent Inktense Pencil – Ink Black 

    Sharpie Peel-Off China Marker 

    Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 Pencil – Black 

    Derwent Graphitint Pencils (various colors, especially black and grays and burgundy) 

    Molotow One4All Acrylic Markers 15 mm
    (love these!)

    Krink K-42 Paint Markers 

    Koh-I-Noor Progresso Woodless Graphite Pencils 

    Derwent XL Graphite Blocks 

    Mars Block Eraser 

    Princeton Catalyst Mini Blade – 01 

    Princeton Catalyst Mini Blade – 06 

    I use shapers a lot. I love the:

    • Colour Shaper made by Royal Sovereign, 3”, firm, flat (Jerry’s Artarama or amazon)
    • Princeton Catalyst mini 01 and mini 06

    Any brush. It’s a good idea to have various sizes/shapes.

    For example: I’ve always loved Winsor and Newton Artist’s Oil Brushes (perhaps because I painted in oil for years) and here are the sizes/shapes I like:

    • Filbert, rounds or flats in sizes 0 or 1 for a thin line
    • Larger filbert or flats (for a thicker line): size 10 or 12
    • Various hardware store brushes of various sizes…
    • Fan brush is fun to have but not necessary


    I love Golden Acrylic Glazing Medium (satin) or Liquitex gloss medium and varnish. These mediums help extend the paint. You can create fluid acrylic paint by mixing this medium with acrylic paint straight out of the tube. This is completely optional.

    Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid – Satin, 16 oz bottle 

    Liquitex Basics Medium – Gloss Varnish 


    Paper towels, baby wipes, water sprayer, water buckets, palette area to mix paint, etc. I find baby wipes to be an especially helpful tool!

    Where else you can find these art tools and materials

    Your Local Art Store 

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